Criminal Law § 1

Syllabus –Fall 2012
Professor Susan Ayres MW 10:00-11:50 am, room 204 817-212-3943 office 112 Office Hours: T 10:30-11:00, F 1:30-3:15, and by appointment

TEXTBOOKS Required: Russell L. Weaver, John M. Burkhoff, Catherine Hancock, CRIMINAL LAW: A CONTEMPORARY APPROACH

Recommended: Joshua Dressler, UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL LAW; LaFave, PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LAW (concise hornbook series).

SYLLABUS The following is a list of topics and tentative readings by class meeting. The syllabus indicates the approximate class time that will be spent on each topic. We might fall behind or get ahead of schedule, so be sure to adapt your syllabus as we go along. Please sign up for the Criminal Law course on Westlaw’s TWEN site, which is the primary site used for this class. You can sign up at

class 1 (Aug 20): Introduction; Purposes of Criminal Law (Chpt. 1); “Fatal Distraction” (by Gene Weingarten) class 2 (Aug 22): Actus Reus (Chpt 2, Part A). class 3 (Aug 27): Actus Reus—Omissions (Chpt 2, Part B) class 4 (Aug 29): Mens Rea (Chpt. 3, Part A) don't read Ducker (p. 73). No School Labor Day, Sept. 3 1

class 5 (Sept 5): Strict Liability (Chpt.3, Part B); Texas Penal Code (“TPC”) § 6.02. class 6 (Sept 10): Intoxication Defense (Chpt. 3, Part C); Nelson v. State, 149 S.W.3d 206 (Ct. App—Ft. Worth, 2004); TPC § 8.04; begin Causation (lecture). class 7-8 (Sept 12, 17): Causation (Chpt. 4). class 9 (Sept 19): Complicity (Chpt. 5, but don’t read “Vicarious Liability” (Part B)) classes 10-13 (Sept 24-Oct 3 ): Theft Crimes (Chpt. 11). class 14 (Oct 8 ): Attempt (Chpt. 6, pp. 243-49, 252-57, 268-76). classes 15-16 (Oct 10, 15 ): Conspiracy (Chpt. 7); do NOT read Palmer (p. 300), Gurwell (p. 331), or merger for sentencing (pp. 336-43). classes 17-22 (Oct 17-Nov 5): Homicide (Chpt. 8); TPC §§ 19.01-19.05, 49.08 17, 18: Overview Lecture; Murder by Degrees (Chpt 8A1); TPC Murder (read Eguia v. State, 288 S.W.3d 1) 19: Voluntary Manslaughter (Chpt 8A2a, but do not read “Imperfect Defense” 8A2b) 20: Depraved Heart Murder v. Invol Manslaughter (Chpt 8B1, also read Dusek v. State, 978 S.W.2d 129, Payton v. State, 106 S.W.3d 326) 21: Felony Murder (Chpt 8B2) 22: Invol. Manslaughter (Chpt 8B3) class 23 (Nov 7): Rape (Chpt. 10) pp. 471-490, 504-17. class 24 (Nov 12): Self Defense (Chpt. 12) pp 579-585; Brown, 296 S.W.3d 371; Battered Wife & Duty to Retreat, pp. 593-606. classes 25-27 (Nov. 14-21): Other Defenses Necessity & Duress: pp. 614-32 Insanity: pp. 633-37; 648-75; TPC § 8.01 Mistake: pp. 116-39 Impossibility: pp. 280-290 class 28 (Nov. 26): Review Practice Exam Answer.


ATTENDANCE & CLASS PREPARATION POLICY I expect you to be present and prepared for class. The school’s attendance policy as set out in the Policies and Procedures Manual will be observed. Please stay 2-3 cases ahead of class discussion. I will call on students randomly to discuss the cases for each class. If you are seated at the back of the room and cannot hear, please inform me. You must turn off all cell phones during class, and although you may use laptops, you may not go on the internet during class unless I announce otherwise or unless you are using an ebook. If students abuse this policy, laptops will be banned from the classroom. There will be times when I will ask you to close your laptops and to work in groups, to just listen, or to take notes using pen and paper—so bring paper and pens to every class. You may not record class meetings or review sessions.

Disability Policy Texas Wesleyan School of Law adheres to a disability policy that is in keeping with relevant federal law. The law school will provide appropriate accommodation as determined by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in consultation with the Director of the Counseling Center. Students must notify the Assistant Dean of any permanent or temporary disabilities and must provide documentation regarding those disabilities prior to the granting of an accommodation. Due to the law school’s policy of testing anonymity, students should not discuss their disabilities with professors.

GRADING Weekly quizzes will account for 14 points—each quiz will be worth 2 points, and there will be at least 9 quizzes throughout the semester. However, you cannot earn more than 14 points from quizzes. The midterm will be a closed book examination (multiple choice) worth 14 points. The midterm will be given TBA. The final examination will be a closed book examination (some combination of essay, short answer, multiple choice), and may include information presented in the syllabus, in films, 3

and by any guest speakers we might have. The final examination will be cumulative and will be worth 72 points. In assigning final grades, I may also consider special class assignments or extra credit opportunities. There is a 15 point penalty for failing to take the practice exam given by Academic Services. Point Allocation 14 points weekly quizzes 14 points midterm 72 points final 100 points total

Grade Challenges: Students may challenge the answers to multiple choice questions on a TWEN forum. Please review the forum for the rules for grade challenges.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful